My sister Martine and I probably have in common this late August excitement about the coming school year, the shininess of starting anew, the prospect of fresh new school supplies. Given that our parents were teachers, our entire family went through this annual sense of new beginnings in September, making covers for our textbooks out of paper bags at the kitchen table, writing our names neatly in ink across the front of a clean notebook, penmanship always important.
Clearly, as a family, we can't get enough of school. After retiring from full careers in the public education system -- my mother at Lowell High School in San Francisco, my father at College of Marin -- both took barely a breather and enrolled as graduate students in Italian at SF State, complementing their tango lessons and visits to opera, ballet and symphony. With their Masters now complete, they are studying Portugese, and keeping current with classes at the Istituto Italiano de Cultura. Martine, like me, is a devoted student of yoga, has completed an immersion and teacher training, and is now teaching a one-hour weekly class in Brooklyn (right on, so awesome).
And of course, there's me.
I've almost always loved school. In my early years, when I was the youngest and always the smallest, mercilessly picked on at recess by truly savage bigger kids, I had the distinct sense of being out-of-it, not getting what everyone else was doing. But finally, in high school, something clicked. I was in the right place, finally, and my inner Hermione Granger got big. Finally. Because honestly, I was a very studious kid. I have great memories of being maybe 11, and accompanying my father to College of Marin where he had a class or two to teach -- he'd park me in the library and I'd do research for hours on witchcraft, always an interesting subject. Or how a neighbor up the street and I were, for years, writing a report about cats, pets which we could never have ourselves because of deeply-allergic family members. Or the copious notes I took while reading a book I love to this day, the first book I remember awakening the scholar within, La Guerre du Feu, given to me by my father in the 6th grade. None of all of that studying, note-taking, report-writing was for school. It was for fun.
Like Martine, I'm a super-geek about yoga. In fact, I'd venture to say that most Anusara yogis are super-geeks about yoga. We read philosophy, scripture, thinkers, poets, incorporating deep thinking about life into the practice. Probably why I'm super at-home in this practice, knowing that it's not that weird in this context for me to show up and take notes on the theme, write down the gems that fall from the teacher's lips each time, little pearls of wisdom and insight that I add, lovingly, to the pile of beauty I'm accumulating, year by year, on my mat.
So it's with great excitement this morning that I'm sitting at our dining table, with a brand-new textbook, brand-new notebook, and brand-new academic planner, contemplating the start of the semester on Monday and the first session of the Mammalogy course I'm taking. This will be my second class at College of Marin in as many years (the first: Biology, Spring 09). I could, like other working people who are taking the class for their own edification rather than for purposes of a degree, take the class Credit/No Credit, but instead I'll enjoy myself by working my ass off for an A.
And yay, Teacher Training with Sianna Sherman and Noah Maze starts October 1st. I'll have a month to get settled into the routine of reading and studying for Mammalogy, and then layer in the coursework for the teacher training. Oh so utterly delightful!
I know some people get sad about this time of year, the end of summer and all that. But I can't help but feel exultant about the learning to come, about the K-nowledge I'm about to pour into my cranium. Yes, so super-fun.